AUSTIN (KXAN) — “We already have some buzz going around the campus because the word has gotten out,” says Alex Torrez, principal of Del Valle ISD’s Ojeda Middle School, who is taking on a new role.
Torrez was just hired two weeks ago as the school district’s chief workforce development officer, in charge of crafting a student training program with Tesla.
The company is receiving tax breaks for its new factory from the school district as well as Travis County.
“A lot of collaboration, a lot of visioning happening with the Tesla education team,” Torrez says.
Right now, plans are in the early stages. Torrez and Tesla are getting ready to hold information sessions for students and their parents next week, which will be followed by an interest survey.
“From that survey we will communicate with them, give them further information on how they can apply,” Torrez says. “And then, ultimately, what the selection process is going to be for either becoming an intern or becoming employed out of Tesla.”
Torrez says they’ll be identifying three groups of students for the program: juniors, seniors who want to continue their education after graduation and seniors who want to go directly into the workforce after graduation.
For those seniors who want to be employed right out of school, Torrez says Tesla will be handling their training.
Torrez says the rest of the students who are chosen will start training with Del Valle ISD.
“We’re going to have modules that they would be working through and each one of the modules would be based on a skill that has been identified as a skill that they need to have in order to be successful out of Tesla campus,” he says.
What that looks like is still being worked out but Torrez says students could start training as early as this summer.
“The Tesla brand, obviously, is something that all our students recognize and are excited about. Having access that they have not had in the past is certainly something that we’re really excited about.”
Tesla’s Elon Musk says he’ll need thousands of workers
About two weeks ago, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted that his company would need more than 10,000 workers in Austin over the next year.
Musk references another tweet regarding other partnerships with the University of Texas and Huston-Tillotson University.
UT tells KXAN while they are excited about Tesla’s move to Austin, they do not have any formal partnership with the company.
Huston-Tillotson announced a partnership last year but did not respond to KXAN’s multiple requests for updates to their programs.
Projected worker shortage for Austin’s tech industry
Workforce Solutions Capital Area says the demand for technology jobs goes beyond Tesla.
“Austin Metro was number four in the country for the largest increase in tech postings from February to March,” says Jessica Garay, data and career awareness project coordinator for Workforce Solutions Capital Area.
Those statistics according to the Computing Technology Industry Association and reported by KXAN’s media partners at the Austin Business Journal.
The group also cites a recent projection from JobsEQ, a software tool, that indicates Austin will see a shortage of 8,800 skilled workers over the next decade for the tech sector’s most in-demand jobs, including software developers, network administrators and information security analysts.
“In other words, these jobs are projected to grow but since there are not enough residents earning these certifications to meet the current demand, there is a shortage of talent,” Garay says.
The nonprofit offers job training for several of those occupations through Re:WorkNow but nothing so far specific to Tesla.
A spokesperson says they are prepared to help Tesla find local people for local jobs and have had discussions with the company but didn’t have any other details to share at this time.